Ariana Grande proving she’s one of the greats

Gabby Seed

One week ago, America’s musical stars came together at the event pop singer Ariana Grande refers to as “the prom” of the high-pressure industry: MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs).

The night is always packed with high-energy performances to celebrate the year’s best music videos, and 2016 was capped off with songs from Beyoncé’s acclaimed visual album, “Lemonade.”

One of the most talked-about performances, however, was Grande and Nicki Minaj’s sultry “Side-to-Side,” a song rumored to be about how one might walk after a particularly active night. As a sort of allusion to this hidden meaning, Grande began her performance by riding a stationary exercise bike while singing.

Although she didn’t get as much vocal power this way, she stayed mostly on pitch. This was an impressive, yet expected, feat for the miniature talent (Grande stands at just 5-feet tall).

Any musical theater major will explain that dancing, running around or riding a bike while singing requires an adept control of breathing and excellent physical conditioning. Yet, theatrical performances aren’t new to Grande; she was on Broadway at the age of 13 and was vocally trained thereafter. She’s a far cry from a one-hit wonder, another “silly” pop star or an untrained singer who was lucky enough to find herself on music’s biggest stages.

Grande’s third major album, “Dangerous Woman,” was released this past May and includes powerhouse examples of vocal finesse in songs like “Dangerous Woman,” “Thinking Bout You,” and “Leave Me Lonely.”

This sampling alone reveals her impressive range and command over runs. Many of the album’s features, including Future, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne, are equally impressive.

Unfortunately, Grande’s past and appearance seem to get in the way of the respect and appreciation she deserves.

Grande was first known for two Nickelodeon television shows – “Victorious” and “Sam & Cat.” Typically, singers who start off on pre-teen shows are relatively weak vocally and end up relying on the fame jump-started by Disney or Nickelodeon; an example of this being Selena Gomez.

Grande’s taste in pumps, tiny skirts, and her signature ponytail also distract from her powerful voice. It’s sad and unfortunate that archaic sexist notions — which focus more on looks than talent — get in the way.

I urge you to listen to one of Grande’s three major albums — “Yours Truly,” “My Everything,” or “Dangerous Woman” — all of which reveal a satisfying blend of R&B, jazz and pop.

Grande has her own sound, style and yes, her own voice that soars high above so many other pop stars — many of whom can hardly be distinguished from one another.

Stop depriving yourself of a major talent simply because of her flirty style, high-pitched voice or Nickelodeon past.

Grande is so much more than the sexist, and frankly, incorrect opinions the American public has of her. She is one of the greats, and I am not ashamed to sing it from the rooftops.

Gabby Seed is a columnist for The Kent Stater, contact her at [email protected].